Spring 2017 Ask the Experts

Don't let a lack of fuel, power or spark get you down!
1998 Ski-Doo Formula DLX 583 snowmobile
In our Spring 2017 issue, our experts answered our readers' questions about stator testing and spark issues. Don't miss these other topics as well:
Stator ain’t so!
Q: I have a ’94 Formula Z 583 that had no spark, so I ohm-tested the stator (which was kind of difficult to find research on how to do that to a Ski-Doo). I spliced into the ground from the stator and grounded it to the recoil and had spark. I hooked up the air box and seat, then went to take it for a test ride and no spark. I checked the spark again, and there was none. I inspected all wires, the kill switch and key, and nothing. I did find that it has spark when cooled all the way down. Once you ride it, warm it up, stop and shut it off, there is no spark. I’m so stumped. Please help. – Thaynes86

A: That last sentence may be the key to your answer – when it cools down, it has spark. This typically correlates to a broken or worn wire in the windings of the stator. Testing a stator can be extremely difficult, and getting correct ohm readings can be almost impossible sometimes. The other potential trouble items are easier to test. Be sure to check the key, tether, trigger, and coil. Then move to stator replacement if those all test OK. – Jason Houle, Straightline Performance

Short on spark
Q: I’m struggling to get spark on my fan-cooled 1991 Polaris Indy Lite 340. I’ve been doing plenty of research and reading the Clymer manual trying to figure it out. I had purchased this sled missing the CDI box. I have since bought a new CDI box from a running sled and still can’t figure it out. The person before me cleared a barn and found it, but whoever owned it before that wired three switches to the dash. One seems to be for hand warmers, one seems to be a tether switch, and one seems to be for aftermarket running lights. I have been at this for two months now trying to figure it out. I’ve checked all switches and when I put a test light to the stator it makes a weak light. Is it the exciter coil? But when the harness is plugged into the stator, nothing happens. So I assume a short in the harness, but where? I’m also wondering if the engine is grounded to the frame anywhere? I have a wiring diagram, but I am stumped. Any help would be great. – fordskidooZr2

A: There should be a single black wire or black wire with white stripe that runs from the CDI module to the ignition kill circuit. Disconnect that wire and test for spark. If spark exists with that wire disconnected, check the ignition switch, throttle safety switches and kill switch. The wiring harness could also have a short in it, but I’d check the other switches first. Typically the problem is found there (usually in the throttle safety switches). If it does not have spark with the black wire disconnected, you’ll need to test the coils in the stator. – Jerry Mathews, Starting Line Products
4-Stroke Oil Change Tip
When changing the oil on your 2017 Thundercat or Yamaha Sidewinder, be sure not to overfill your oil. The proper amount of oil is indicated on a sticker posted next to the sight tube on the oil reservoir. According to Cat’s ZR performance line manager Brian Dick, you should fill the oil until the level in the sight tube reaches just above the bottom line (remember, oil level will rise as the sled warms). Overfilling the oil reservoir can cause oil to leak into the turbo unit, causing a noticeable (10-12 mph) loss of power.
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